WMDs in Iraq

The following article is just my gut reaction to the news today that Weapons of Mass Destruction have been regularly found in Iraq and military personnel have even been injured by them.  I say gut reaction as this is just my immediate response from thought to type.  I chose to preserve it that way as this reaction stems from the same place of the soul that reacts when you are awoken at 0300 for a formation at 0600 to complete at task that doesn’t start until 0900.  Everyone knows why we went to war in Iraq right? The points made so clear by George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, and Colin Powell were that Sadaam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction and we must save the world from them. So we blitz through Iraq in less than a month, only to find out that there were indeed no WMDs, that is until now when we find out that they were all along, and in fact 11 years later, still there. WMDs found in Iraq.  Now I’m all confused.

W.

The New York Times reported in a story breaking today that our troops have been finding chemical weapons as early as 2004. The first incident they quoted in the story was a 2008 event where troops were exposed to Mustard Gas while disposing of ordinance. Aha you say! Barrack Obama was elected in 2008 so this must have been a conspiracy to discredit George W. Well, he didn’t take office until 2009 people, but just you wait, some ultra conservative website will pick this up and play that angle. I’m calling it here now on Unprecedented Mediocrity.

However, the truth seems to be that many of these weapons were being discovered during his Presidency to which I reply, what the hell. Quick open letter to Former President Bush here: President Bush, you spent the bulk of your last term in office getting hammered on the lack of WMDs in Iraq. So what exactly were you doing keeping these discoveries a secret. I know it wasn’t the mobile labs you were hoping for, but just like when I tell my daughter to be grateful for 2 cookies instead of the whole pack, you take what you can get.

Now if it turns out these discoveries were kept from you, please provide a list of those who hid them to those of us who supported you so that we might all line up and take turns offering a throat punch to these individuals as trust me, Bush supporters took a lot of crap over the years on these lack of WMDs. End of Open letter.

Still There

Well, good thing we at least discovered them despite the missed political opportunity. I mean after spending a decade there, I am sure we can at least rest assured that we took the time to destroy them all while we were there and all. Except we didn’t and many are still there according to the story.

How exactly can this be? So we went to war to destroy weapons that turned out not to be there, until we find out they were there are along, only to still be there 11 years later. I get how the insurgency kicked up steam in Iraq and we became a little pre-occupied with fighting and what not, but we all know that much of war is sitting around waiting.

But you see the picture above? That’s me in Iraq in 2003. I wasn’t doing anything particularly important that day. Not that I am a weapons inspector, but I’m guessing over 10 years, you could have put together enough working parties to do a little something. Surely, you could have just said, “Listen up Devil Dogs, I need a 10 man working party to go mop up some Mustard Gas.” And if you promise us Jalapeno Cheese, we probably do it.  It blows my mind that there is even a teaspoon of this stuff left.

Security

Ok then fine. You missed the political opportunity and you didn’t take care of it while you were there, but at least you left Iraq in stable hands and the stuff is properly secured. Surely there is no way that extremist can get their hands on this stuff right? Hello ISIS.  Look, you can have our Tanks we have gave Iraq, you can have our Humvees, but don’t dare put your hands on our WMDs.  We called those first.

I don’t need to update you on the news. ISIS is running all over our ex-girlfriend Iraq. What is even more disturbing to note is that this New York Times report reflects accounts of ISIS looting compounds said to contain such chemical agents. I honestly don’t know what to say and I think my sentiments reflect a great deal of the Veteran community when we all respond with a collective, What the Hell?

In conclusion, it’s hard enough for us Veterans to sit here and watch Iraq unfold into the mess it has become. It is equally hard to watch some Veterans fail to get the quality care they need upon return. So when it turns out that we are doubling down on said failures by failing to take care of the original reason we went to war in the first place, it confuses me beyond measure.

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8 Replies to “WMDs Found in Iraq, A Veteran Response”

  1. Ok, so been thinking on this since the story was released. We went to war based on this, an unpopular war, career politicians lost careers over this including Colin Powell. We watched our countries rep take a huge hit based on this ONE fact, Bush, Rumsfeld and Cheney all had huge burdens put on them over this. Soldiers, reporters and “experts” all came back saying, there was none or very minimal. So for 10 years we all were allowed to live a lie, either pro or against these munitions and now, as ISIS is kicking the IRAQI’s ass and splitting it into thirds, our bombing campaign is not working this story breaks?
    Hummmmm, me thinks this is the start and the justification to put boots on the ground again in Iraq….

      1. As the NY Times article referenced stated:

        They were remnants of an arms program Iraq had rushed into production in the 1980s during the Iran-Iraq war. All had been manufactured before 1991, participants said. Filthy, rusty or corroded, a large fraction of them could not be readily identified as chemical weapons at all.

        Here’s a few informative links on the history of US-Iraq relations concerning WMD:

        CIA Files Prove America Helped Saddam as He Gassed Iran
        http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2013/08/25/secret_cia_files_prove_america_helped_saddam_as_he_gassed_iran

        Bush Secret Effort Helped Iraq Build Its War Machine
        http://articles.latimes.com/1992-02-23/news/mn-5070_1_persian-gulf

  2. This is old news. Even the wikileaks documents released by our transgender traitor showed that mustard gas was found in 2004. Paul Bremmer went on Fox and said the canisters and mechanism looked to be made in the west or USA from pre-1991. There were chemical wespons then and still are today but the question about the war is that Sadaam had immidiate intent to use or distribute them. I question that logic. But, Sadaam was financing Hamas to run terror in Israel and the thhought was that he would do the same for terror groups like Al Qaedas. Not sure what the writer of this articles MOS was but thank you for your service.

    1. Good comments GS. I didn’t intend the article to be a complete vindication of Bush’s claim. Rather that he should take what he got. Now in terms of allowing any of that stuff to still remain 10 years later, that is a complete and utter, What the Hell. 0311 by the way! Thanks for commenting.

  3. Great article and I share many of your thoughts. While I have never been in any position to truly know “what the hell” they were thinking, I do have my suspicions:

    First, from the NY Times article:

    They were remnants of an arms program Iraq had rushed into production in the 1980s during the Iran-Iraq war. All had been manufactured before 1991, participants said. Filthy, rusty or corroded, a large fraction of them could not be readily identified as chemical weapons at all.

    We all know that we armed, funded and gave tactical advice to Iraq in that war (even while selling weapons to Iran under the table). So, saying we found WMD we helped fund or even supplied them doesn’t really fit into the rationale for our war there.

    Secondly:

    In case after case, participants said, analysis of these warheads and shells reaffirmed intelligence failures. First, the American government did not find what it had been looking for at the war’s outset, then it failed to prepare its troops and medical corps for the aged weapons it did find.

    and

    “The American government withheld word about its discoveries even from troops it sent into harm’s way and from military doctors. The government’s secrecy, victims and participants said, prevented troops in some of the war’s most dangerous jobs from receiving proper medical care and official recognition of their wounds.

    Congress, too, was only partly informed, while troops and officers were instructed to be silent or give deceptive accounts of what they had found. “ ’Nothing of significance’ is what I was ordered to say,” said Jarrod Lampier, a recently retired Army major who was present for the largest chemical weapons discovery of the war.”

    So, it’s clear that they intentionally lied about the discoveries. It seems this was done as yet another way to deny expensive care for our veterans and to hide the fact that we went to war for a fictional narrative all while ignoring that we and our European allies had supported them in their acquisition of WMD less than two decades prior.

    “The United States also exported the shells and the technology behind them,” the Times reported. “When Iraq went arms shopping in the 1980s, it found manufacturers in Italy and Spain willing to deal their copies. By 1988, these two countries alone had sold Iraq 85,000 empty M110-type shells, according to confidential United Nations documents.”

    Just my two cents on the subject.

    1. Thanks for you feedback. I too have my suspicions on what we did or did not know prior to the war, but the main intent of this article wasn’t to vindicate Bush’s claims but to more or less state he should have taken what he found. Consequently, we find ourselves a decade later with some of that stuff still around. It doesn’t matter how few they could kill now, there shouldn’t be a drop of it left after a decade. I don’t mind if intelligence falls short of what we expected, but I do have a problem with this decade long debacle.

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